Gov. on rural sweep

By Chris Lind

Gov. James Thompson’s appearance at a DeKalb Republican party fundraiser Thursday night was only one stop in his ten-hour sweep through Northern Illinois.

Thompson stopped in at least five rural towns Thursday, including Sycamore, Oregon, and Dixon, said Jim Skilbeck, Thompson’s special assistant.

George Beasley, chairman of the DeKalb County Republican Central Committee, said he first talked with Thompson’s staff to arrange his attendance at Thursday’s fundraiser at Matthew Boone’s Restaurant and Lounge, 122 S. First St.

John Countryman, R-DeKalb, who helped with Thompson’s first gubernatorial campaign in 1976, had a hand in organizing Thompson’s DeKalb appearance, said Nancy Beasley, a secretary to Countryman and member of the fundraiser committee.

“When you want to have a successful fundraiser, you need to go to the top. It was extremely important for the governor to be here the day after he gave his budget message to the General Assembly (in Springfield),” she said.

In a speech at the fundraiser, Thompson stated concerns about higher education funding and his planned budget for education spending.

Skibeck said the governor supports a tax increase to fund higher education. He said Thompson also realizes the need for increased funding for Illinois higher education to maintain quality universities.

“He’s on your (the student’s) side,” Skilbeck said.

DeKalb County Circuit Clerk Maureen Josh said, “The governor’s message was that there is a great need for education in Illinois and in the United States.” She called the speech “informative,” adding that Thompson showed he understands the need for more higher education funding.